October 16, 2012

Quoting Nora Ephron

I love Nora Ephron.  She was wit and wisdom personified.  She was famous for her films.  A humorous chronicler of contemporary culture.  Only recently I started reading her books. The last one a few weeks ago.  I Feel Bad About my Neck.  It's so good. Really.  Like her other books, I couldn't put it down.  Here are a few lines that really stuck with me:

On Parenthood Parenting:

"...lots of women back then didn't feel like entering into the workforce, but they felt guilty about this, so they were compelled to elevate full-time parenthood to a sacrament.  Suddenly there was this thing called parenting.  Parenting was serious.  Fierce.  Solemn.  Parenting was a participle, like going and doing and crusading, and worrying; it was active, it was energetic, it was unrelenting. It meant playing Mozart while you were pregnant, doing without the epidural, and breast-feeding your child until it was old enough to unbutton your blouse.  Parenting was not simply about raising a child, it was about transforming a child.  And suddenly all sorts of additional personnel were required to achieve this transformation:  baby whisperers, sleep counselors, shrinks, yoga teachers, learning therapists, speech therapists, tutors, and if necessary, behavior-altering medication, which coincidentally or not, was invented at almost the exact moment that parenting came into being."

"Parenting meant that whether or not your children understood you, your obligation was to understand them; understanding was the key to everything.  If your children believed you understood them, they wouldn't hate you when they became adolescents; what's more, they would grow up to be happy, well-adjusted adults who would never have to squander their money (or yours, more likely) on psychoanalysis or whatever fashion in self-improvement had come along to take its place"

On Family Counseling:
  • "Adolescents is for parents, not adolescents.
  • It was invented to help attached or over-attached parents to separate, in preparation for the inevitable moment when their children leave the nest.
  • There is almost nothing you can do to make life easier for yourself except wait until it's over."

On  Child Labor:

"Speaking of the pain of labor.. .why do people always say you forget the pain of labor?  I haven't forgotten the pain of labor.  Labor hurt.  It hurt a lot.  The fact that I'm not currently in pain and cannot simulate the pain of labor doesn't mean I don't remember it. I'm currently not eating a wonderful piece of chicken I once had in Asolo, Italy in 1982,  but I remember it well.  It was delicious.  I can tell you exactly what it tasted like.  I have never tasted chicken that was crispier, tastier, or juicier.  The song has ended, but the melody lingers on, and that goes for the pain of labor -but not in a good way."

On Exercise:

"I would like to be in shape.  But every time I try to get into shape, something goes wrong, and makes it impossible.  Let me be clearer:  Every time I get into shape, something breaks.  So far, I have managed the following:  I pulled my lower back, I threw out my right hip, I got shin splints, and I entirely destroyed my neck.  A few years ago, during a wild and committed period of exercise, I happened to be sent a tape of the movie Chicago, and I made the mistake of confusing it with an exercise video.  It was, without question, the greatest exercise video I have ever worked out to. For the first time, I was never bored.  I could be Catherine Zeta-Jones, and then I could be Renee Zellweger.   I pranced around the apartment waving five pound weights, singing All That Jazz.  But three weeks after, I woke up one morning in horrible pain and discovered I couldn't move my arms.  Millions in dollars in doctors' fees later, it turned out I had not one but two frozen shoulders, the result of lifting too many weights for far too long, It took two years for these frozen shoulders to thaw."

A few tidbits:

"People have only one way to be.

Buy, don't rent.

Never marry a man you wouldn't want to be divorced from.

You never know.

The plane is not going to crash.

Anything you think is wrong with your body at the age of 35 you will be nostalgic for at the age of 45.

Write everything down.

Take more pictures.

The empty nest is underrated.

You can order more than one dessert.

You can't own too many black turtlenecks sweaters.

When your children are teenagers, it's important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.

There's no point in making pie crust from scratch.

The minute you decide to get a divorce, go see a lawyer and file the papers.


Never let them know.

If only one third of your clothes are mistakes, you' re ahead of the game.

There are no secrets."

"Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim."  Nora Ephron died at 71 this past June. 
She is missed.